Indians Sign Oliver Perez, Designate Beliveau for Assignment
Bob Toth | On 02, Jun 2018
The bullpen door has been a heavily used and revolving one for the Cleveland Indians this season. They added yet another candidate to the scuffling relief corps on Saturday when they signed veteran left-hander Oliver Perez to a Major League contract.
To create room on the roster for the 36-year-old, fellow lefty Jeff Beliveau was designated for assignment.
Perez, a veteran of 15 big league seasons, spent nearly a month of spring training in the camp of the Cincinnati Reds, who released him on March 22. He signed just over a week later with the New York Yankees and reported to their Triple-A affiliate at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but after posting a 2.92 ERA in 12 1/3 innings of work, he exercised an opt-out in his contract and became a free agent on Friday.
The Indians are in dire need of bullpen support, as the staff has posted an MLB-worst 6.01 ERA for the season and is coming off of the worst ERA posted by an Indians bullpen (8.01) in franchise history. Perez will become the 15th different reliever used by the Indians this season when he makes his debut.
“Hopefully this is a guy who can help us out with the lefties,” shared manager Terry Francona on Saturday. “He’s been there and done that. And by all accounts, he’s actually been throwing the ball pretty well and he’s healthy.”
The Indians have been looking for any sort of consistency in their bullpen this season while the staff adapts to new roles after the departure of Bryan Shaw in free agency in the offseason. While Shaw has struggled with his new Colorado Rockies club (posting a 2-3 record with a 5.72 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP in 31 games), his former teammates in Cleveland have been unable to fill his shoes in the late innings. With Andrew Miller landing on the disabled list twice this season already with hamstring and knee injuries, lefty Tyler Olson has worked heavily, appearing in 24 games this year (tied with Cody Allen for the most on the club).
Cleveland will become the eighth different team that Perez pitches for in his career. He spent more than half of his career as a starter, working for the San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates, and New York Mets before beginning to work in relief in Queens in 2010. He pitched in 16 games in the minors for the Washington Nationals in limited action in 2011, but returned to the Majors in 2012 as a full-time reliever with the Seattle Mariners. He spent two seasons there, parts of two years with the Arizona Diamondbacks, two months with the Houston Astros in 2015, and had spent the last two years in the Nationals bullpen during his second stint with the club.
Perez owns a 69-86 record lifetime with a 4.46 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP in 552 games.
Beliveau, 31, was added to the Indians’ roster for the second time this season when his contract was purchased from Triple-A Columbus. A non-roster camp invitee with the Tribe this spring, he reported to Columbus before he was added to the club at the end of April when Miller went on the disabled list for the first time with a left hamstring strain. Beliveau was designated for assignment on May 4 and outrighted to Columbus several days later, only to return on May 29, days after the team placed Miller back on the disabled list with right knee inflammation.
Beliveau made five appearances in his first stint with the Tribe, posting a 10.80 ERA and a 2.70 WHIP in three and one-third innings. He worked in four games of relief upon his return, allowing two runs on two hits with a walk and a homer in an inning and one-third. Twice since rejoining the club and three times this season he failed to retire an out in an appearance.
With Columbus, Beliveau had appeared in 14 games, going 0-1 with a 4.70 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP with 22 strikeouts and four walks in 15 1/3 innings.
The Indians will again have seven days to trade Beliveau or place him on irrevocable waivers.
Photo: Getty Images